This recently completed three-year project was undertaken by the PI at the University of Florida, NASA Goddard and JPL, and by the Co-I and Collaborator at the University of Florida. The funding was used to support a continuation of research conducted at the University of Florida over the last decade which focuses on the dynamics of dust particles in the interplanetary environment. The main objectives of this proposal were: To produce improved dynamical models of the zodiacal cloud by performing numerical simulations of the orbital evolution of asteroidal and cometary dust particles. To provide visualizations of the results using our visualization software package, SIMUL, simulating the viewing geometries of IRAS and COBE and comparing the model results with archived data. To use the results to provide a more accurate model of the brightness distribution of the zodiacal cloud than existing empirical models. In addition, our dynamical approach can provide insight into fundamental properties of the cloud, including but not limited to the total mass and surface area of dust, the size-frequency distribution of dust, and the relative contributions of asteroidal and cometary material. The model can also be used to provide constraints on trace signals from other sources, such as dust associated with the ''Plutinos'' , objects captured in the 2:3 resonance with Neptune.
Goddard Space Flight Center; Jet Propulsion Laboratory